NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Oregon II
July 5 — 17, 2011
Mission: Groundfish Survey
Geographical Location: Northern Gulf of Mexico
Date: Friday, July 1, 2011
Pre-cruise Personal Log:
Allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Heather Haberman and I have been a science teacher at Scottsbluff High School in Western Nebraska for the past six years. I LOVE being a teacher and sharing my passion for science with others. Everyday brings a new adventure and there is rarely a dull moment.
Zoology and Environmental Science have always been my primary interests which motivated me to obtain a degree in Biology. This degree allowed me to pursue positions such as a Research Assistant with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, an Animal Caretaker with the US Department of Agriculture, a Forest Protection Officer with the US Forest Service, as well as a Zookeeper and Education Curator for Riverside Zoo. As an Education Curator, I realized how much fun it was to teach science so I decided to go back to college and earn my Education degree. These real world experiences have helped me make science more fun and applicable to the lives of my students. This is one of the reasons why I am so excited about being selected to participate in the NOAA Teacher at Sea program.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a federal agency focused on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere. Next week I will begin working alongside NOAA scientists on a groundfish survey in the Gulf of Mexico aboard the Oregon II. Their primary summer objective is to determine the abundance and distribution of shrimp by depth. Other objectives include obtaining samples of commercially important fishes, such as red snapper, and crustaceans. This data enables scientists to predict population trends which allows government officials to regulate the fishing industry in a more sustainable fashion. It is also important to collect weather (meteorological) data and physical ocean (hydrographic) data to look for climatic trends and to assess the health of the ocean. Plankton samples will also be collected since they play a key role in the oceanic food web and are good indicators of ecosystem change.
I am excited to be a part of this scientific research team collecting data about the health of our fisheries and oceans. I hope that bringing back real scientific stories about research at sea will help my students from the Great Plains feel more of a connection to their watershed and the oceans of our planet. Being over a thousand miles away from an ocean makes it easy to dismiss the fact we rely on the sea for so many of our resources, and how our actions impact the marine environment.